Control For Energy and Sustainability

EPSRC Programme Grant

Summary. The research programme comprises projects in power systems, fuel efficient transport and control theory support research. The power systems and transportation projects are linked by their common focus on energy efficiency and sustainability, and also by the fact that the control systems projects will provide new, overlapping techniques to support the research in both areas.

Power. Prominent in the power systems theme are projects connected with wind energy exploitation. The Wind Power Integration project is directly in this area. The DC Transmission Networks and Scalable Control projects also address challenging problems arising in the design of locally controlled electrical energy networks incorporating diverse energy sources, including wind. The High-Impact Low-Probability Events project explores the application of advanced probabilistic modelling techniques to dealing with the intermittency of wind and the protection of power networks from failure. The project on Energy from Waste addresses the growing interest in energy re-cycling schemes, and is underpinned by control design techniques common to the other applied projects.

Transportation. The transportation projects are concerned with fuel efficiency and address two aspects of road vehicle design as well as the air-traffic management problem. The Engine Management Systems project aims to exploit the substantial reductions in fuel consumption and emissions that can be achieved through advanced engine manage-ment systems. The Air-Traffic Management project is concerned with safe and efficient operation of air traffic in increasingly congested airspace, with an important goal of minimising fuel consumption. The Aero-dynamical Efficiency project aims to improve fuel economy by reducing a vehicle’s aerodynamic drag and mass, and will study the dynamics and stability issues that must be dealt with to achieve this end.

Control Theory. Electrical networks and road vehicles, beneath their obvious differences, are both examples of complex nonlinear dynamic systems, for which available models are, in part, imprecise and uncertain. The underpinning control theory theme gives emphasis to controller design methodologies for systems exhibiting these features. Two projects within the theme (Optimal Control and Model Predictive Control) employ optimization and are well-matched to the power and transportation project areas, where some key design objectives are naturally formulated in optimization terms (‘maximize quality of supply’ or ‘minimize fuel consumption’). The Passivity Based Control project takes as its starting point another feature uniting power systems and road vehicles: they can both be regarded as a collection of passive subsystems connecting energy generators and loads (‘passive’ in the sense that the subsystems contain no energy sources). Passivity Based Control is a powerful methodology for designing local feedback controllers for passive systems and are based on the principle that interconnections of passive systems are also passive. A paramount issue in wind-power research is the formulation of appropriate models that capture uncertainty of supply. The Stochastic Modelling project provides the theoretical foundation for the construction of probabilistic models and their use in prediction and network design.

Projects and research managers

Theme 1: Underpinning Control Theory

UT-A – Optimal Control (Richard Vinter)

UT-B – Stochastic Modelling Estimation and Decision Making (Richard Vinter)

UT-C – Model Predictive Control (Jan Maciejowski)

UT-D – Passivity Based Control (Malcolm Smith)

Theme 2: Power Systems

PS-A – Multi-node DC Transmission Networks (Tim Green)

PS-B – Wind Power Integration (Richard Vinter)

PS-C – Risk Profile of Future Power Systems (Goran Strbac)

PS-D – Scalable Control (Glenn Vinnicombe)

PS-E – Energy from Waste (Alessandro Astolfi)

Theme 3: Energy-Efficient Transportation

EET-A – Engine Management Systems (Keith Glover)

EET-B – Air Traffic Management (Jan Maciejowski)

EET-C – Dynamics and Control for Improved Aero-Dynamical Efficiency (David Limebeer)